International Consultation: Best Practices in the Management of Radicalized Offenders


International consultations identify staff training as a key “best practice” in the management of radicalized offenders.

Why we did this study

This study was part of a multi-year initiative aiming to comprehensively inform correctional policy and operations while contributing to the general level of knowledge surrounding radicalized offenders. It sought to understand, on a global level, how various aspects of radicalized offender management were operationalized in other correctional jurisdictions, and to identify “best practices” in the management of radicalized offenders.

What we did

Consultations were conducted via electronic questionnaire using a snowball sampling methodology. Content focused on key areas of interest regarding the management of radicalized offenders: accommodation; recruitment and susceptibility; intake, assessment, and classification; interventions and programs; reintegration and aftercare; and staff training and awareness.

In total, 81 respondents from 15 countries completed the online questionnaire between September and November, 2014. Respondents represented North America (45.6%), Oceania (41.9%), Europe (8.6%), and Asia (3.7%), and included officials at all responsibility levels at administrative, custodial, and community sites.

What we found

The majority of respondents indicated that their jurisdiction utilizes the same intake and assessment procedures for their radicalized offenders as non-radicalized offenders, and that they do not have specialized interventions for radicalized offenders. However, respondents were also critical of the fact that specialized approaches did not exist, a concern which is supported by literature in the area.

International respondents noted the importance of training of staff at many levels regarding radicalization, and staff awareness training was the management practice cited most often as one that would be recommended as a best practice.

Challenges in the management of a radicalized offender population were also highlighted, including accommodation practices, recruitment, and community reintegration. The large degree of variability in accommodation strategies coupled with the number of factors that are weighed by population managers provides insight into the complex decisions that are encountered with respect to this group.

The management of recruitment attempts was reportedly most effectively achieved through intelligence gathering/sharing and movement of key radicalized offenders to other locations. As participants reported a lack of community support structures for radicalized offenders being reintegrated into the community, consideration of community support strategies that have proven effective with this group would appear to be essential.

What it means

In combination with key "best practice" resources and evidence gathered in the overall multi-year program of research, these results will support CSC in developing evidence-based policy and management practices to assist in the safe and effective management, rehabilitation and reintegration of its radicalized offender population.

For more information

Axford, M., Stys, Y., & McEachran, R. (2015). International Consultation: Best Practices in the Management of Radicalized Offenders (Research Report R-361).Ottawa, Ontario: Correctional Service of Canada.

To obtain a PDF version of the full report, or for other inquiries, please e-mail the Research Branch or contact us by phone at (613) 995-3975.

You can also visit the website for a full list of research publications.